I grew up thinking that there was a problem if someone needed to connect the dots. Whatever instructions were given, obviously they were clear and concise. When I did not understand the message, it was my problem! Somebody was less than smart.
Time, experience, and multiple confusing moments challenged my belief. As clear and concise as my teachers and parents were, I did not always understand. Sometimes it was due to my response. On other occasions it was just as likely to be them or the subject.
I look back and forward, recognizing that connecting the dots is always a good thing. The process of bringing ideas to the table, sharing them, and helping another person understand, does not mean that they will accept the premise. However, it sets the stage for the opportunity. Listening to the questions with the intent to learn, open up the possibility for more. Everything about the dialogue is potentially helpful to both parties.
Experience suggests that the process never ends there. One may believe one has received. One may think that s/he has communicated clearly. Even with both in place, the affirmation of sender and receiver lies in what follows – actions.
Too often I find myself stopping with key principles and a vision statement. Everyone should understand what measures tell the story. It is only fair. Divinity reminds us that there is a way to verify our understanding. “Here’s how we can be sure that we know God in the right way: Keep his commandments.” (1 John 2.3) It sounds problematic, however compassion, empathy, and love can be seen and experienced.
Every day dawns with uncertainty and opportunity. Life will reach out to teach and guide. That is the first part of the process. If we want to measure know if we have learned the lesson, we can listen to our response that is told in the story that follows. We will not always understand. We will not get it perfect. We can learn and grow. You and I have a daily window where we can make a difference.